Vermont college students from out-of-state who do not plan to stay for the summer and other part-time residents can start signing up for COVID-19 vaccines in Vermont on April 29, the state Health Department announced Wednesday.

"This opportunity will be based on the vaccine supply we receive from the federal government," the Health Department said in a statement.

The Health Department also announced that Vermonters who made an appointment through the state registration system that is at least three weeks away may receive a call asking if they want to be on a standby list for an earlier vaccine appointment. People who agree to be on the list should not cancel their existing appointment; it will be canceled for them if they get called in as a standby and after they receive the vaccine, the Health Department said.

In other pandemic-related news:

PRISON CASES

Vermont's Northern State Correctional Facility has been declared free of COVID-19, the Department of Corrections says.

The all-clear came after five consecutive rounds of testing at the Newport prison found no cases of the virus among inmates.

Three cases were detected among prison staff, including one during the most recent round of testing on April 15, but contact tracing found that the case posed no threat to the incarcerated population.

The outbreak began Feb. 23 when testing found the virus in one staff member and 21 inmates. A total of 179 incarcerated individuals tested positive during the outbreak.

"We are thankful the Vermont Department of Health has cleared us from all outbreak protocols," Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker said in a statement on Tuesday. "We are thankful there was not serious illness, and we do not take that fact for granted."

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RARE VACCINE BREAKTHROUGH CASES

A small percentage of people may still get sick from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated in what are called vaccine breakthrough cases, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said on Tuesday.

"Because as effective as they are, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness," he said during the governor's twice weekly virus briefing. Levine said he believed that there have been 125 such cases in Vermont.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the rate of vaccine breakthrough is .007%, Levine said.

"According to national data, these COVID-19 cases were in people of all ages, 45% were 60 or older, 65% female, 29% had no symptoms. Importantly, just 396 people nationwide — 7% with breakthrough infections — were known to be hospitalized and 74, or 1% died," Levine said.

He pointed out that the data relies on voluntary reporting from state health departments so may not be a complete picture and some cases may not be found because people did not get tested.

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NUMBERS

On Wednesday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 73 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to almost 22,240.

There were 27 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including three in intensive care.

The state reported a total of 243 fatalities, up one from Monday.

Due to a system upgrade, the state did not report the daily numbers on Tuesday.

The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 180.57 new cases per day on April 5 to 103.43 new cases per day on April 19.

The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 0.57 deaths per day on April 5 to 1.29 deaths per day on April 19.

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